The story of a mother who has a diagnosis of severe paranoid schizophrenia, the daughter she is denied custody of and their mutual decision to go on the run together.
'There's something about mother-daughter relationships I find particularly interesting,' Jones says. 'A female has given birth to another female who one day will probably give birth herself. There's a chance for incredible empathy. Yet such relationships are often fraught, squandered. I wanted to explore that.'
This is the second novel from Graham Jones, who last year wrote TRAVELLER WEDDING, which is also available for download on obooko.
The first time he ever encountered the mother and daughter was when he pulled up behind them at a toll booth in Limerick while they were having some kind of argument with the person in the hatch. That's what he assumed was happening, anyway. He could barely make out the females in the black Suzuki Swift from the wheel of his van.
A couple of times, he saw the mother's eyes in the side mirror and felt she was looking at him, although knew she wasn't. That it was merely the way her head pivoted as she talked and did whatever she was doing - which may have been hunting for change.
It reminded him to look for change himself and although he quickly found the EUR1.90 for cars, soon noticed the metal sign standing on the cement strip listed EUR3.40 as the charge for vans. So he undid his seatbelt, leant into the back and reached for his dark brown leather satchel.
Now he could see a young blonde girl in the booth, whose face hadn't been visible moments earlier. The girl had leant back, some kind of faded pink rubber band around her neck and was clearly making an effort not to get annoyed. The mother seemed upset, while the daughter's arms looked folded. Simon got the impression she was actually throwing her eyes to heaven.
The mother stuck her right arm outside the window, displaying a silk shirt with fried egg designs all over it - perhaps flowers - and jabbed her pointed finger at the girl in the booth.
Then, her arm disappeared again and the Suzuki began moving forward.
The blonde girl in the booth swivelled in panic and the gate was raised.
Within moments the little black car had driven away.
'Why not just let her crash into it?' Simon wondered aloud while carefully cruising up to the booth and feeling around more in the satchel that was now on his lap. 'They didn't want to pay?'
The girl in the hatch, good looking enough for him to straighten up, was gazing in the direction of the runaway car.
'Lunatics,' she muttered while accepting his coins.
Soon he was moving again, unable to see the black car in the distance and more or less forgetting about the whole thing.
The fog was plenty to be thinking about.
He hadn't been sure it was real, because he'd never seen a fog bank before and it had only been visible for a moment or two. A roundabout and village had deprived him of the sight almost immediately and made him suspect it was smoke from some controlled fire. Yet there it was again - distant now and dissipated.
Simon had been alive for thirty eight years and spent the last four in Siberia. Was back home in Ireland because his mother was dying of pancreatic cancer. It was killing him too. After all, he was supposed to be able to cure anyone. Yet couldn't even cure his own mum - the woman who had created him.
His brown hair and red beard seemed a reluctant sacrifice to his nature and two old denim jackets kept him warm in the van.
Many saw the forthcoming solstice as the beginning of winter, but Simon followed his own medicine wheel and had been in the depths of it since November.